An Anglo-Portuguese Romantic Encounter during the Shelley-Byron Circle’s Intertextual Summer in Geneva: The Identity of the Mysterious Portuguese Lady

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Abstract

During the Shelley-Byron circle’s intertextual summer of 1816 in Geneva, Lord Byron’s physician, John William Polidori, kept a journal in which he described the group’s activities. Polidori’s autobiographical narrative as well as Claire Clairmont, Byron and Percy Shelley all mention a close friend of the doctor’s in Geneva, a Portuguese lady who has remained a mysterious presence until now. Based on research using Portuguese and Swiss sources, this article establishes that the Portuguese lady was Henriette Brélaz (née Lassence), the wife of Pierre Nicolas Brélaz, a Swiss trader born in Lisbon who lived in Genthod across the lake from Villa Diodati.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-158
Number of pages9
JournalRevista de Estudos Anglo-Portugueses
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Keywords

  • Byron
  • Polidori
  • Geneva

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